PICKSINSIX Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
“OH GOD HOW I MIST YOU!”
Oh pod how you tease… Seymour Krelborn has a lot of problems. He lives and works at a flower shop on skid row. His boss is not very nice to him. He is in love with his co-worker Audrey who is being abused by her boyfriend, the sadistic dentist who enjoys causing pain. Then there is the sick plant he discovered during a solar eclipse that he has been fretting over. Nothing works, no matter what he tries. “I’ve given you plant food and water to sip. I’ve given you potash, you’ve given me zip! Oh god how I mist you. Oh pod how you tease. So please – grow for me.”
Captivating performances… ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, now playing at Drury Lane in all its joyfully macabre and touchingly poignant splendor, is the product of the first collaboration of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken — an early ‘80s time capsule for the team who later developed Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ before the 40 year-old Ashman succumbed to AIDS in 1991. The Drury Lane incarnation, keenly directed and choreographed by Scott Calcagno with musical direction by Roberta Duchak, includes a top-notch company led by the captivating performances of Kelly Felthous and Will Lidke whose star-crossed love story — like just about everyone else — runs smack into the jaws of a ravenous leafy bottom feeder.
Richly enjoyable comic romp… Things are looking up for everyone early on around the Mushnik Flower Shop. Seymour has a thing for Audrey who imagines a better life of her own. And while business is booming, Mr. Mushnik worries that Seymour’s new-found popularity could disrupt the first real opportunity in years to balance the books. Of course, there is only one key ingredient that helps make Audrey II, the aforementioned bottom feeder, grow. Once things start to sprout there is no turning back for the young and ambitious Seymour whose wish to escape the dead-end prospects of a skid row existence to live happily-ever-after with Audrey are only a few gallons of hemoglobin-enriched plasma away. It is all a clever setup for the dark and richly enjoyable comic romp that follows.
Powerhouse voice… Kelly Felthous is on fire as Audrey with a powerhouse voice that flows effortlessly through the beautiful anthems ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ and ‘Suddenly Seymour’. Felthous evokes a truthful innocence that aligns perfectly with Will Lidke’s frenetically awkward charm. Ron E. Rains is perfect in the role of Mr. Mushnik, and shows off some nifty footwork in ‘Mushnik and Son’ with Lidke. Steven Strafford, in multiple roles including Dr. Orin Scrivello D. D. S., nails ‘Be A Dentist’ and ‘Now’. Rounding out the ensemble in plain sight is the fabulous trio of Melanie Brezill (Ronette), Candace C. Edwards (Crystal) and Melanie Loren (Chiffon) who, with Strafford, make the cast appear much larger than it is with split-second costume changes and high-energy numbers including the title song and ‘Skid Row’ where Edwards particularly shines.
Eerie and fiendishly fun… Audrey II is voiced by the incomparable Lorenzo Rush, Jr. and animated by puppeteer Matthew Sitz. The teaming of these two seasoned performers bring the eerie and fiendishly fun Martin P. Robinson designed plant to glorious life. Rush’s deep, booming, blues vocals in ‘Git It’ and ‘Suppertime’ rock.
Be careful what you wish for… 1313 Skid Row is realized in the efficient and rugged staging by Kevin Depinet, enhanced by Ryan O’Gara’s lighting design and Linda Myers costumes. Chris Sargent directs The Little Shop of Horrors Band in this throughly entertaining musical sendup that just might have you whispering, “Be careful what you wish for.” and “Don’t feed the plants!” on your way home.
Drury Lane Theatre
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
through October 28, 2018
100 Drury Lane